Interview: Tom Payne Plays Mind Games With Us

[photos by Michael Hanna Photography for SciFi4Me]

It’s 6pm on a Tuesday at the Red Bull Studios in Santa Monica, CA and the cast and creative team of the new sci-fi thriller film, Mindgamers, has just finish a panel and press junket. The film follows a group of brilliant young students, lead by The Walking Dead’s Tom Payne, who create a wireless neural network capable of transferring motor-skills from one brain to another, anywhere in the world, via a quantum computer. Though they hope the technology will change humanity for the better, they soon find out that darker forces, perhaps, the trailer hints, led by the great Sam Neill (Jurassic Park), threaten to use it as a means of mass mind control.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gb62EQyJFyo&feature=youtu.be

Amidst the new wave tech office furniture, giant posters of extreme sports stars, and hors d’oeuvres, Tom and I find a little time to chat about his geeky side and the not so sci-fi elements of his new film.

 

Cast and crew of MINDGAMERS sat for a Q&A panel.

Ayla Glass: How did you learn about this project, and what attracted you to the script initially?

Tom Payne: It was like any other project that you audition for. It was a script that came to me and the part seemed really interesting. I’m a bit sci-fi nerd myself. I love Flatliners and movies like that, and I thought this had a similar kind of vibe, and the subject matter really interested me. And I needed a job (he laughs). So I got offered this one and I thought it would be really fun. It’s gotten much bigger and more interesting and more exciting than I could of thought it could have been. I have been amazed at Red Bull’s investment in pushing things forward and tackling difficult subjects. And making a movie that isn’t like any other. I don’t think I’ve seen a movie like this before.

AG: So during the panel you touched a little on that you got really into quantum science after reading the script and getting involved in the movie. Was that a passion ahead of time?

TP: No I hadn’t really thought about it before. I had my own ideas about life, and death, and what happens, what doesn’t happen, and I knew they didn’t involve religion, so I was always looking for something else. So when we started the movie, and we started having these conversations within the cast, and with the writers and director about existence and about quantum physics and the connection between people, it really chimed with me and gave me a new direction to go in with my understanding of how things work. But it’s such an enormous subject. I’ve never really been a scientist. I feel like if something interests you then you follow that and there was parts of science that interested me, but I just knew that it wasn’t my direction. But at the same time I am a very quite a geeky person and into sci-fi. One of the things that made me do the movie was that I wanted to do a sci-fi movie and this one had some really interesting themes and really interesting questions. So it was great to get involved in that.

AG: So would you do a sci-fi movie again?

TP: Absolutely. I’ve been telling my agent I want to be in the new Predator movie or the new Alien movies. I love sci-fi. I think it’s really exciting and asks questions and it just… looks really cool!

AG: Yes! You get to wear cool outfits, shot cool guns… So you want to be in an alien invasion movie next if possible?

TP: Absolutely.

Tom Payne at the MINDGAMERS panel.

AG: Nice! How was it working with Sam Neill. He’s such a renowned veteran actor. How was that relationship dynamic on set?

TP: Sam has been around for a long time now, and he does so much work and such different performances. At the end of it, he’s just a working actor, and that very much comes across with him. He has an ease to his work and to himself that puts you at ease. I take my job seriously but my energy isn’t really too intense. And Sam’s isn’t too, so when you meet actors who are doing it in a way that you do it and in a way you aspire to do it. Then it gives you confidence that you don’t have to be too method, or too crazy, or too whatever, because I’ve seen this person do amazing performances. I don’t want to change the way that I work because that’s the way an “amazing actor does it,” and I know that you don’t have to. Generally, I come to work really invigorated and excited and I did on this movie.

AG: If you could describe this film in one word, what would it be?

TP: Mindbending.

AG: Amazing. Is there anything specific you would like audiences to take away from the film?

TP: I think the main thing is just that it opens the conversation. I think that’s the most important thing. The movie is not linear in a way that a regular movie is. I’ve watched the movie twice now and the second time I got more out of it. Honestly, I left the movie and I was like, “I don’t know if that was a good movie, but I also don’t know if it’s a bad movie” because it doesn’t fit the narrative of a regular movie. It doesn’t go, this is the beginning, this is the middle, this is the end. A lot of things happen simultaneously, and it’s not constructed in a “normal” way. So you come out of it having had an experience, and asking questions about the movie but also everything to do with the movies and all the things it brought up. And that was different for me. I’m used to leaving a movie and going “ah, okay that was nice,” and this movie I was like, I need to go away and think about that. So that was really cool, it’s a whole new thing. And with the experiment that’s happening… there is a lot of great music in the movie and a lot of great visuals and ideas. It’s definitely a stimulating project, so I’m excited to see the results of the experiment.

AG: Do you think you’re going to jump in there in the back maybe?

TP: Yeah, if I’m here I will I think.

AG: Okay. Final question: any hints as to what the second half of season 7 holds for you on The Walking Dead?

TP: (laughs) I can’t say…

AG: No?! Do you make it?

TP: I can’t even tell you that. I can say that, first episode back, Jesus takes everyone to meet the Kingdom in Ezekiel, and we start the long journey to building the resistance… And that’s all I can say.
MindGamers: One Thousand Minds Connected Live (also known as DxM) takes place on Tuesday, March 28, 2017, at 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT and is produced by Fathom Events and Terra Mater Film Studios. Tickets are on sale now at http://www.fathomevents.com/event/mindgamers

The Walking Dead airs Sunday nights at 9/8c on AMC.




MINDGAMERS: Science Fiction Meets Science in an Upcoming Live Event

 

[photos by Michael Hanna Photography for SciFi4Me]

What if you could connect your brain to another person anywhere in the world via a wireless “neural” network and instantly become an expert at whatever you wanted? This idea is what the new sci-fi thriller, MindGamers, will explore with its audiences. However, this film’s aims reach past general entertainment and into the scientific realm, where actual neuroscientists are exploring this very concept with the film’s help.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gb62EQyJFyo&feature=youtu.be

On March 28th, 2017, the film will take the idea of a test audience to a new level by simultaneously monitoring 1,000 people’s emotions as they view the movie in New York and Los Angeles using specially designed cognition headbands. The experiment, called MindGamers: One Thousand Minds Connected Live, will be happening one night only and will include a screening of the film with a video foreword by quantum neuroscientist, Tim Mullen, and expert in neuroscience technology and the collective consciousness, Mikey Siegel. This will be one for the history books, as it is the first time this many minds will be connected to the same neural cloud network at one time. The previous successful experiment only held 22 people. This will produce the world’s first ever image of a “mass mind state” (numerous people experiencing the same event) and help quantum scientists analyze the cognitive state of the crowd through cloud technology and real-time data collection.

Calling itself a “grounded science fiction thriller,” MindGamers follows a group of brilliant young students, lead by The Walking Dead’s Tom Payne, who create a wireless neural network capable of transferring motor-skills from one brain to another, anywhere in the world, via a quantum computer. Though they hope the technology will change humanity for the better, they soon find out that darker forces, perhaps, the trailer hints, led by the great Sam Neill (Jurassic Park), threaten to use it as a means of mass mind control. This film looks visually stunning, and is sure to feel like an episode of Black Mirror on steroids. Apparently, there is a 20-minute section of the movie, developed in collaboration with neuroscientist Tim Mullen himself, to really get those brain synapses firing!

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On January 31st, cast and crew gathered at the Red Bull Studios in Santa Monica, CA for a Q&A panel and press junket. In attendance were stars Tom Payne, Melia Kreiling and Oliver Stark along with Dr. Mullen, scientist Mikey Siegel, and filmmakers Filmmakers Joanne Reay and Andrew Goth.

Reay and Goth initially got the idea for the film when they heard about a study in which two rats, with their brains connected via computer, were able to share cognitive information. In the experiment, rat #1 took three months to completely learn a maze through trial and error. Scientists then connected rat #1 to rat #2, who has never encountered the maze, and rat #2 was instantly able to complete the same maze in one try. Upon further research, they discovered that once quantum computers are more fully functional and portable, we will be able to connect humans in the exact same way. Not only could people share motor-skills, but also thoughts, information, and emotions. It could be used to help cure PTSD or depression, or advance physical therapy or even search for information without even taking your smart phone out of your pocket. Of course, there are the many concerns about how this technology might be abused, and Reay says they address both sides in the film.   

“I think with MindGamers, you get a movie and you get an argument. Because I can almost guarantee that everyone has a different interpretation on the movie. It is as individual as you are, it says a lot about your approach to life and how you look at the world, as to how you respond to the film. Whether you see it as an optimistic film or a pessimistic film.”

Mindgamers is a film attempting to bridge the gap between science fiction and hard science, and I can’t wait to see how this one ends!

 

MindGamers: One Thousand Minds Connected Live takes place on Tuesday, March 28, 2017, at 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT and is produced by Fathom Events and Terra Mater Film Studios. Following the event there will be a LIVE Q & A and the image of the collective mind state will be revealed. Tickets are on sale now at http://www.fathomevents.com/event/mindgamers

 




A CURE FOR WELLNESS: Beautiful Cinematography, Predictable Story, Bloated Runtime

A Cure For Wellness
Screenplay by Jusin Haythe
Story by Justin Haythe & Gore Verbinski
Produced by Arnon Milchan, Gore Verbinski, David Crockett

Directed by Gore Verbinski

[images courtesy Mammoth Advertising]

Unfortunately, A Cure for Wellness didn’t do much to cure my boredom. This latest attempt at a parable on our toxic modern lives from Gore Verbinski (Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, The Ring) turns out to be all beauty and not much substance. For all its moody, muted tones and Gothic ambiance, at 146 minutes, the film is far too long to support the flimsy, unsatisfying narrative.

Our protagonist is a ruthless and power-hungry stockbroker named Lockhart (Dane DeHaan – Chronicle, The Amazing Spider-Man 2) who is blackmailed by his equally ruthless and power-hungry executive board to travel to a wellness center in a remote part of the Swiss Alps to retrieve the company CEO, Pembroke (Harry Groener – About Schmidt, Road to Perdition) and bring him back to New York so that he can sign the necessary legal papers to finalize their pending merger. When Lockhart arrives at the Gothic castle that houses the sanatorium, he finds that Pembroke has no intention of leaving; in fact, none of the guests do. However, this turns out to be the least of Lockhart’s problems, after a grisly car accident leaves him with a broken leg and consequently checked in as a patient of the creepy head doctor, Volmer (Jason Issacs – The OA, the Harry Potter franchise). In his attempts to uncover the true intentions of Dr. Volmer, he must submit himself to the mysterious “treatments” which leave Lockhart wondering if he is truly sick or if he has uncovered something deeply sinister.

At least, that’s what the movie hopes you will think. It starts out strong (kudos to Verbinski for making a heart attack just as terrifying as a demon girl crawling out of a TV), but the movie never really achieves its mindbending aim. It fundamentally fails on its basic premise, in that there is never any real doubt cast on the nefarious doctor and his so-called healing center. I never questioned the nature of Lockhart’s reality, because, save one scene involving disappearing doors and a stag casually walking through a steam room (an incredibly epic technical feat), I did not question for a moment that every weird thing that happened was in fact weird, evil, and very off. This is mostly due to the fact that the film provides us way too much information up front. So much so, that the “big twist” at the end is relatively obvious before we are past the first 30 minutes of the movie. Being a little ahead of your protagonist can serve well to add tension in a horror film, but when you’re ahead for an entire two hours it loses its fun. I mean, maybe it’s just me, but if there are eels on the freakin’ front gates of the creepy Gothic castle, I’m pretty sure any eels I see are definitely real, and anyone who says otherwise is messing with me.

The narrative also suffers from obvious plot holes and characters’ inexplicable lapses in judgement paired with overall disregard for self-preservation. Not only must we believe that Lockhart would choose to return to the center twice after escaping for the sake of pure curiosity, but we must also believe that he would never try to fully escape thereafter when all he had to do was hobble a mile or two downhill on his crutches? Wouldn’t a character that is presented as so vehemently self-absorbed and opportunistic save himself the first chance he got? The proposed obstacles of unfriendly villagers and a full leg cast seem flimsy against the threat of gruesome bodily harm and possible death. In the end, the film goes from a toddling 5 mph to 50 mph out of nowhere. It starts to feel like a cheesy action movie, and the final reveal gives more of a “WTF?” feeling than an “OMG!” one. In the end, a too enthusiastically executed attempted rape scene, overly dramatic banter, and some really terrible CGI, leave you scratching your head wondering what exactly this was all for.

Still, DeHaan does an excellent job carrying this behemoth of a movie. He is reminiscent of a younger, steelier Leo DiCaprio, an obvious homage to Scorsese’s Shutter Island, and never lacks in intensity for a moment. He does all the heavy lifting in this film, and though some have pointed to Lockhart being incredibly unlikable, I felt DeHaan did a lot to bring out the little humanity the character still possessed. Jason Issacs has made a career playing the buttoned up creeper, and he does not disappoint either. Mia Goth (Nymphomaniac Vol. II), who plays Hannah, the mysterious young girl Lockhart sees as his key to the center’s puzzle, is perfectly cast in this role, somehow strangely able to seem 14 and 40 at the same time.

Despite its dramatic shortcomings, the film is truly a feast for the eyes. Verbinski, reunited with The Ring cinematographer Bojan Bazelli, prove once again to be quite the cinematographic dream team. The dreamy color palette mixed with the Gothic setting are constantly breathtaking, rivaling the equally ambitious Crimson Peak, and the elaborate sets are moved through with such deft technical skill, I found myself in awe of the film’s beauty many times. Every shot is meticulously gorgeous, so perfectly atmospheric, that you surprise yourself a little when you start to get bored with its beauty once the two hour mark rolls around. As one of the longest horror films ever released in theaters, A Cure For Wellness could have benefited from serious whittling down, but by the end it’s very clear that this film is more for Verbinski than for any of us.

Overall, if you want to see an incredibly beautiful looking movie with some vintage horror influences and excellent sound design – check it out. If you want to see a truly scary flick, save yourself the $17 dollars and the two and a half hours and cross your fingers for next weekend’s release Get Out.

 




Review: INCARNATE Is a Fun Ride, But Misses Some Opportunities

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{All images courtesy Incarnate Facebook page}


incarnate-posterIncarnate

Written by Ronnie Chrisensen
Directed by Brad Peyton
Produced by Blumhouse Tilt
Copyright 2016

A compelling premise defeated by predictable storytelling and a demon that’s just not that scary.

The pitch for Incarnate, the latest by director Brad Peyton (San Andreas), was probably something similar to “it’s like Inception meets the Exorcist.” The film doesn’t quite deliver on its catchy premise, but the result is an engaging ride with some fresh ideas, albeit few true scares.

Incorporating a pseudo-scientific angle, distancing itself from religion, Incarnate sets up a world we haven’t seen before – inside of the possessed host’s mind. And though the Vatican and a demon burning cross necklace are still involved, it was nice to see a possession film not over run with priests and religious jargon (only one Latin line guys!) Still, the film ultimately falls victim to many of the traditional exorcism tropes, which combined with an overall predictable storyline leaves the audience with a bit less than they hoped.

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Dr. Seth Ember (Aaron Eckhart, The Dark Knight) spends his days tracking down and liberating demonically possessed humans in hopes of finding the evil entity responsible for the car accident which killed his family and left Ember himself in a wheelchair. His style of exorcism is to enter the afflicted’s subconscious a la Leo DiCaprio in Inception, and awaken them to the fantasy world that the evil entity is holding them in. Once they realize what they are experiencing isn’t real, the host is able to expel the entity from their body. Ember rejects all religious processes and language surrounding exorcism. He adamantly calls demons “parasitic entities” and proclaims his exorcisms are “evictions” because he evicts the entity from the inside out. But when a Vatican emissary (Catalina Sandino Moreno, At The Devil’s Door) reveals a boy named Cameron (David Mazouz, Gotham) is suspected of being possessed by the arch-demon he has been hunting for years, he must work with her and the boy’s mother (Carice van Houten, Game of Thrones) to save Cameron and vanquish the centuries old entity once and for all.

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After mulling it over, I think my primary issue with Incarnate is that I wanted more Incarnate! There are so many touched upon back stories and little details that could have beefed up the relatively short 79-minute film. There was a particularly juicy missed opportunity to explore Ember’s faith or loss of faith after the death of his family. His deceased wife wore a cross necklace, and there are some allusions to Ember previously having some sort of relationship with religion before his life was shattered by a homicidal demon. However, we never get more than his defiance to religious labels and his proclamation that he “does not clock in for the Vatican.” His transition from family man to “evictor” is completely skimmed over, not to mention his seemingly complicated relationship with a fellow demon hunter, named Felix (Tomas Arana, Gladiator).

And let’s talk about Felix for a moment. That guy’s warehouse looks like a crazy art smugglers den, and he is I AM LEGEND-ing the possessed? Tell me more about that! Don’t just use his character as a plot device to tell us about some “fail safe” serum and walk away! Can we get a prequel?

Another issue is the film’s lack of a compelling villain. Ember’s arch-nemesis, the entity he calls ‘Maggie,’ does little more than your run of the mill demon tricks. Lots of crawling up walls, snapping necks, inky eyes, creepy voice, and so on. Other than being difficult to ‘evict,’ the audience isn’t shown what makes her the baddest demon in town. Cameron is stationary and silent the vast majority of the time he is possessed. Not an incredibly intimidating foe.

Overall, I can’t say that I didn’t enjoy the film. I liked its diversion from typical religious exorcisms, and all the actors give full, charismatic performances. If you are a fan of Eckhart, as I am, you will enjoy watching his enthusiastic and committed turn as Ember. The film never enters the realm of kitsch or camp, and is genuinely gripping at some points. It is a satisfying enough ride that will hopefully lead to more filmmaking exploring the scientific exorcism sub-genre.

Ayla Glass is a contributor for SciFi4Me and an aficionado of psychological thrillers and Spaghettio’s

 

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James Marsters Talks About His Latest Film: DUDES & DRAGONS

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“I sat down and I read the first 10 pages and I was confused…”

…then I kept reading and I loved it.” That is what actor James Marsters had to say about his most recent film Dudes & Dragons, which is being released on VOD, DVD, and other streaming platforms today.

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And I have to say, as I began watching the film, my initial reaction was similar to Marsters’ when he first sat down with the script. At first, it seems stilted, over the top, and a little bit cheesy. But as the story continues, you begin to realize the characters are winking back at you, and the film becomes not just enjoyable but down right hilarious. It’s a fun, fast-paced, fantasy laugh-fest, so it’s no surprise that it won Best Feature Film at DragonCon last year.

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Dudes & Dragons is a Kickstarter funded fantasy comedy about a love scorned wizard named Lord Tensley (Marsters) who vows to rid the world of the silly emotion by way of a deadly fire-breathing dragon. A brave, but rag-tag bunch of eccentric warriors must go on a dangerous quest to defeat the evil Tensley, slay the beast, and rescue the beautiful Ennogard (Kaitlin Doubleday of FOX’s Empire).  In celebration of the wide release of the film, I talked with James Marsters to find out more about Dudes & Dragons, his career in SciFi, and what’s next.

Marsters got his big break on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, then went on to star in Angel, Smallville, and Torchwood, and has been a staple of the SciFi/Fantasy world for many years. I asked him what drew him to the genre initially and why he continues to enjoy working in the genre today. Marsters says he has always been a “Star Wars, Planet of the Apes, Convention goer, Punk Rocker, subversive artist.” He explains, being a subversive artist is about trying to “divest the audience of the lies we are taught as children,” and that he enjoys SciFi because you can do this with a sort of “plausible deniability.” The jester is the only one in the king’s court who can hold a mirror up the the king and call him an idiot….as long as he’s funny. That’s why he loves SciFi. The veneer allows the writer to speak more honestly and directly to the audience. The Twilight Zone told of the mental stresses of the Cold War. Star Trek talked about diversity and hope as a social force, and brought the first interracial kiss into people’s living rooms. Twenty-three years later, Buffy aired the first lesbian kiss on television. SciFi is a genre that pushes the envelope and effects change.

But what about being the villain? “It’s the best!” Marsters says, “I get to lurk in the shadows, hit the hero, and go home!” Heroes are always worrying about things, he says, they have to control their inner demon. But, as the villain, Marsters says, he can have fun and let his immature side come out. He gets to work through all those negative emotions, and it’s a very cathartic experience for him. “It’s like free therapy,” he says, “I always go home feeling better.”

Dudes&Dragons_PosterartDudes & Dragons is a successful Kickstarter project, and Marsters is no stranger to the fan financed film. Back before any of the many websites came into existence, his Buffy co-star Amber Benson creatively used crowd-funding techniques to make her feature film starring the pair. Marsters says he loves the creativity, integrity, and singular voice of the indie project. “If you know what you’re doing, you don’t have to have a whole lot of money to tell a good story,” he says. When you get into big budgets, “you are beholden to those who gave it to you and they can change your idea into something that’s different than what you want.” When he produced theater in Seattle, he says he enjoyed the freedom of expression he had as an independent artist, and these crowd-funded films continue that freedom.

So, what’s next for Marsters? He says he has a “disgusting” gore fest of a horror movie in the works (horror fans watch out for that one!), a romantic drama flick, his band Ghost of the Robot is releasing their 5th album, he’s playing Lex Luther for the DC online video game, and he’s narrating the book series The Dresden Files. LA fans can catch the short film Marsters and his wife Jasmin created together, Kessi Blue, at the Pasadena International Film Festival on March 6th. Needless to say, we have a lot more to look forward to from James Marsters.

Dudes & Dragons from Momentum Pictures stars James Marsters, Kaitlin Doubleday, Luke Perry, Adam Johnson, Maclain Nelson, Clare Niederpruem, Jake Van Wagoner, and Erik Denton. Written and directed by Maclain Nelson and Stephen Shimek. Produced by Kristi Shimek, David Wulf, and Jake Sorensen.    

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OUTLANDER Returns April 9th!

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THE WAIT IS OVER! (Almost…) Starz and Sony Pictures Television announced the return on Outlander Thursday.

The hit show based on Diana Gabaldon’s international best-selling Outlander book series, will return Saturday April 9th at 9PM ET/PT. The second season will be 13 episodes and brings to life the events of the second book of eight books, entitled Dragonfly in Amber. The series is executive produced by the illustrious Ronald D. Moore (Battlestar Galactica, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Star Trek: The Next Generation).

Starz also released a first look at their teaser art featuring Outlander couple Claire Randall Fraser (Caitriona Balfe) and Jamie Fraser (Sam Heughan) on the steps of Versailles. Instead of swords and guns, they’re armed with political savvy and a dangerously low neckline as they embark on their new mission — infiltrating the French aristocracy and rewriting history.

According to Starz press release, “Book Two of Outlander begins as Claire and Jamie arrive in France, hell-bent on infiltrating the Jacobite rebellion led by Prince Charles Stuart, and stopping the battle of Culloden.  With the help of his cousin Jared, a local wine merchant, Jamie and Claire are thrown into the lavish world of French society, where intrigue and parties are abundant, but political gain proves far less fruitful.  Altering the course of history presents challenges that begin to weigh on the very fabric of their relationship.  However, armed with the knowledge of what lies ahead, Claire and Jamie must race to prevent a doomed Highland uprising and the extinction of Scottish life as they know it.”

Sounds absolutely riveting!

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Syfy Greenlights Original Sci-Fi Thriller PROTOTYPE

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It’s pilot season, y’all! Which means lots of exciting (hopefully) new shows to look forward to this Fall. Today Syfy announced it has greenlit the pilot of an original sci-fi thriller called Prototype, written by 24:Live Another Day alum Tony Basgallop.

The new series revolves around three groups who accidentally stumble upon an invention that challenges the laws of quantum physics — a discovery, which of course, puts their lives in danger from mysterious forces.

Oscar nominee Juan Carlos Fresnadillo (Esposados) will direct. Escape Artists Productions (Southpaw, The Pursuit of Happyness) will serve as executive producers along with Fresnadillo and Basgallop. Taylor Latham (Freeheld) will be co-executive producer.

Prototype joins Brave New World, 3001: The Final Odyssey, Hyperion, Kypton, and Incorporated on the ride down Syfy’s development pipeline. It’s shaping up to be an exciting time for the network coming off the success of Childhood’s End last December.

Stay tuned!

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HBO Releases New GAME OF THRONES Images

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HUZZAH! Game of Thrones fans rejoice! On Thursday, HBO released a little sneak peak of the upcoming sixth season, which premieres April 24th.

The 20 glorious photos reveal the status of some of the characters whose fates were in question at the end of season five. Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) and Theon Greyjoy (Alfie Allen) seem to have survived their jump from the walls of Winterfell, and sister Yara (Gemma Whelan) and daddy Balon (Patrick Malahide) are also featured. Will the Greyjoys be a larger part of the ongoing battle for control of the Seven Kingdoms this season? Time will tell…

After being absent for all of season five, Bran Stark (Isaac Hempstead Wright) is back, pictured alongside the Three-Eyed Raven, now played by Max von Sydow. (Also know as “that old guy from the beginning of Star Wars: The Force Awakens!) The Three-Eyed Raven is reported to play a major role in the events of the new season.

Although Bran is looking good, his sister Arya (Maisie Williams) is looking worse for wear and is blind after her run in with the House of Black and White last season. Jon Snow (Kit Harington) is absent from these pictures, however the Red Priestess Melisandre (Caprice van Houten) IS present. Will Jon Snow be resurrected? His presence in HBO’s marketing campaign for season six hints maybe so…

Also in theses images, Cersei and Jaime Lannister, and newcomers to the Game of Thrones cast Freddie Stroma as Dickon Tarly, Richard E. Grant in a mystery role, Pilou Asbæk as Euron Greyjoy, and Ian McShane ALSO in an undisclosed role.

Check out the new photos in the photo gallery.

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72 days and counting…..

 

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